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  1. #1
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    Default How efficient is synthetic motor oil to make.

    yes it is more efficient to use, but how much energy/oil is required to make a qt of dino vs synthetic oil ?

  2. #2
    Elite Member DieselPower's Avatar
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    Default Re: How efficient is synthetic motor oil to make.

    What type of synthetic?

    Group III made from dino base stock is the cheapest to produce and only requires one major additional step to produce over regular Group I and II dino oils. It goes through a Severe Hydrocracking process. Modern Group III oils can nearly match the performance of PAOs at about half the price. Because of this, PAO based oils are rapidly disappearing. There are new processes being investigated which may significantly cut the cost of producing PAOs, and make them an important component of oil again.

    Group III+ GTL (gas to liquid) Natural gas is primarily made up of only one type of molecule, so the refining is already done for you. Most oil wells throw off a lot of natural gas. In many cases, it's more expensive to transport this gas to a large city than the gas is worth, so it's just burned off. All you have to do is chemically attach these molecules to each other to turn them into quite pure oil stocks. Look for this technology to start booming in 2010.

    Group IV PAO's(Polyalpha Olefins)

    Group V Polyolesters/Esters Group V base stocks are the most expensive of all to produce.

    Group VI PIO's (Polyinternalolefin) I am not to up to date on this base stock as it's fairly new and only available in Italy currently.

    edited to add: In short the answer is that it cost more to produce most synthetic's. However, the synthetic base stocks perform better and last longer than GP I and II base stocks. So if the change intervals are 2 to 3 times that of a GP I or II base stock the synthetic's are actually more economical in the end.
    Last edited by DieselPower; 02-13-2007 at 05:37 AM.

  3. #3
    Elite Member RalphVa's Avatar
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    Default Re: How efficient is synthetic motor oil to make.

    I was never privy to exactly how the synthetics are produced when I worked for Exxon, before the ExxonMobil merger. However, they always said that synthetics were more expensive just because the feedstock value was high, as its alternative use was as feedstock to make plastics. They require a bit less processing than do dino oils. This is why if lots of natural gas is converted to liquid, the cost will be very low, as it'll already be nearly a lubricating oil straight from the fuels refinery, and it won't be a feedstock for making plastics like the PAOs are.

    For your info, dino oils are distilled in vacuum stills with a bit more distillation ability (e.g. a bit more energy required) than a standard fuels still, followed by solvent extraction or hydrotreating to remove aromatics, followed by hydrofining either after the extraction step or as a stabilizer after hydrotreating, followed by solvent or catalytic dewaxing. Really specialty oils may undergo another hydrotreating operating. These refining operations, particulary the solvent extraction and dewaxing steps, require lots more energy than do most conventional fuels refining operations.

    Ralph
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    God's original intent

  4. #4
    Elite Member SkyPup's Avatar
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    Default Re: How efficient is synthetic motor oil to make.

    Hydrotreating itself is expensive as all the hydrogen has to come from somewhere....although the Group V Polyolesters/Esters Group V base stocks are the most expensive of all to produce, they are the most efficient and pure.

    BTW, you could use SynGas recycled from waste to get all the energy and hydrogens you'd need to produce fully synthetic Group V (like some plants already do in Europe), so basically it would be 100% FREE engergy wise!
    Last edited by SkyPup; 02-13-2007 at 10:22 AM.
    Suck, Squeeze, Bang, Blow......GO Diesel GO!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: How efficient is synthetic motor oil to make.

    SkyPup,
    How can the change internals be extended if the Synthetic is picking up the "Dirty" deposits conventional Dino oil is. So if the change period is close to the same why use the more expensive Synthetic in low speed engines such as a Diesel. I can see the need if it is used in high speed and / or high heat machines since it doesn’t break down at the higher heats like the Dino oil does. Not trying to be confrontational just trying to understand.
    Thanks
    Leo

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How efficient is synthetic motor oil to make.

    Quote Originally Posted by SkyPup
    Hydrotreating itself is expensive as all the hydrogen has to come from somewhere....although the Group V Polyolesters/Esters Group V base stocks are the most expensive of all to produce, they are the most efficient and pure.

    BTW, you could use SynGas recycled from waste to get all the energy and hydrogens you'd need to produce fully synthetic Group V (like some plants already do in Europe), so basically it would be 100% FREE engergy wise!
    yes you could, but are we ?

  7. #7
    Elite Member DieselPower's Avatar
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    Default Re: How efficient is synthetic motor oil to make.

    Quote Originally Posted by em14
    SkyPup,
    How can the change internals be extended if the Synthetic is picking up the "Dirty" deposits conventional Dino oil is. So if the change period is close to the same why use the more expensive Synthetic in low speed engines such as a Diesel. I can see the need if it is used in high speed and / or high heat machines since it doesn’t break down at the higher heats like the Dino oil does. Not trying to be confrontational just trying to understand.
    Thanks
    Leo
    Here's how I have seen it work first hand. I have been a diesel mechanic for years and more recently am in the process of getting out of the repair business and going into lubricant sales (it's easier on the body). So I have had thousands if not 10's of thousands of gallons of oil pass through my hands over the years.

    Many years ago I was one of those mechanic's that suggested to my customers to change their oil at the manufacturers recomended intervals. Did that for quite a long time to with no problems, oil related that is.

    Luckily I was alway's the inquisitive type and at one point started doing some research on tribology (the science of lubricants). One thing I quickly learned was that the OEM's recomended service intervals were (how should I put this) useless. No two engines operate in the same conditions, enviroments, under the same load, etc... All the variables greatly effect engine oil life. A truck working in a coal mine that is a very dusty enviroment may end up with oil change intervals 1/10 or less of what you can expect from a OTR truck/tractor. This is where UOA's (used oil analysis) comes in.

    After discovering UOA's I started to search for suppliers I could buy my bulk oil from that included UOA's at no cost. There hard to find but there out there. In any case I started to do UOA's on all of my customers trucks and found that on heavy road tractors that had been on a 10K or 15K mile OCI (oil change interval) they could now easily get 25-30K or even more with proper testing. One thing I did quickly find out was that the oil needed to be changed not because of soot contamination but in most cases due to TBN dropping off close to the end. A very few showed fuel dilution and others yet had high dirt contamination levels due to the conditions these trucks were in. It all depends on each exact truck and it's operating conditions.

    In my experience TBN reduction was the main cause to change oil. Not that the oil was contaminated and dirty but because it's additive package had become depleted. After a few years of experiementing I found that the higher quality of oil that I used the longer the change intervals could be extended. However I did find that there is a point with each truck that no matter how high a quality oil you use in it, it does eventually become soot loaded and needs to be changed. The higher quality engine oils had better additive packages and did increase OCI's over regular off the shelf oil but only to a certain point. What I ended up finding was that semi-synthetic worked best for me. The oil and additive package could easily last long enough, to the point where the oil needed changing due to contamination. I found the use of full synthetic's was not really needed as the oil became contaminated long before the base oil would shear down to the point it was worn out. With the high quality semi-synthetic and even premium GPII dino oils I and my customers got the best bang for the buck.

    A few customers trucks I worked on did have oil bypass filters on them and these trucks normally got longer change intervals due to a large majority of the contaminates being filtered out. OTR truck that would normally have a 40 quart oil capacity and with the Luberfiner bypass filter system on them had their oil capacity increased another 16-20 quarts and the OCI's were safe out to about 100K in most cases.

    So is there anything wrong with the factory intervals. Only that they end up consuming more natural resources (oil) and in the long run end up costing you more because your changing your oil more often than it needs to be.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: How efficient is synthetic motor oil to make.

    Diesel,
    I think share the same conclusion that you arrived at thought I don’t have the stats to back it up as you do. When I bought my 2001 Chevrolet Silverado I was surprised when the salesman made a point of being sure that I understood the Oil Change Interval could go as high as 10,000 miles! But I note that all the shops my truck has visited have “suggested” the time honored 3,000 miles! I have not followed the shops guidance but instead, choosing to follow my truck’s computer’s suggest time to change and most of the time it tells me to do so at some where about 7500+ miles. I am happy with its performance so far at approximately 170K miles traveled. There has not been a hint of oil problems during that mileage. Thank you for your answer and your very interesting insight.
    Leo

  9. #9
    Elite Member DieselPower's Avatar
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    Default Re: How efficient is synthetic motor oil to make.

    Ahh yes, OLM's (oil life monitors). In my opinion one of the best thing's to hit the vehicle market in a long time. It would be interesting to see how much money this feature has saved consumers and how much oil it has saved being used since their inception.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: How efficient is synthetic motor oil to make.

    [QUOTE=DieselPower]

    Many years ago I was one of those mechanic's that suggested to my customers to change their oil at the manufacturers recomended intervals. Did that for quite a long time to with no problems, oil related that is.

    QUOTE]

    face it, they just give an average number. impossible for them to do otherwise,unless you don't care if they maintain the vehicle at some minimum standard so factory interval is meaningless when compared to an individual situation with labratory analysis to back it up.


    you and me Im'ed each other over that 3000 mile OCI my employer has to do on transit vehciles, on the surface it seems excessive behind the scenes we are probably running 500 hours to go those 3000 miles. some body else might be doing it in 60 hours and the oil is still new. Ours is spent at that point. different scenarios.

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